Ethics classes and secular counsellors should be funded by school chaplain millions

MEDIA RELEASE
28 August 2014
Greens candidate for Summer Hill, Max Phillips today said the state government should refuse to cooperate with the Abbott Government’s reincarnated school chaplaincy program, saying that many parents in the Inner West felt it was inappropriate to have religious counselling in the secular school system, and would prefer the money was spent on professional secular counsellors or ethics classes for students.
After the High Court ruled the federally funded school chaplaincy program was unconstitutional, the Abbott Government has decided to hand funding and administration of the program to the states.
“The NSW state government should refuse to participate in Tony Abbott’s resurrected school chaplaincy program unless the funds can be redirected to more appropriate secular programs,” said Max Phillips.
“To spend $243 million on a chaplains program in the secular school system, when many schools are crying out for funds for facilities, equipment and staff, is a clear case of ideology trumping common sense.
“Many parents in the Inner West send their children to public schools expecting a secular education and are very concerned that their children may be exposed to proselytising by religious chaplains.
“Professional, secular counsellors are much more appropriate for the public school system.  If parents wish their children to receive religious counselling, then they can choose to do this outside of school.
“Secular ethics classes introduced in NSW as an alternative to religious education in 2010 have been enormously popular.  Boosting the capacity of the ethics classes would be a far better and less discriminatory spend than funding chaplains in schools.”
Contact: Max Phillips 0419 444 916

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